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UKRAINIAN PREMIER REPORTEDLY HOSPITALIZED AFTER BEING HIT BY 'WEIGHTY OBJECTS.' Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych was hospitalized in Ivano-Frankivsk on 24 September after two objects, one of them "hard," were thrown at him in that western Ukrainian city, Ukrainian news agencies reported, quoting Yanukovych's spokeswoman Hanna Herman. Herman said the attacker was arrested and added that Yanukovych's "injuries" were not life-threatening. Meanwhile, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Tetyana Podoshevska told Interfax that no "weighty or blunt objects" have been thrown at Yanukovych in Ivano-Frankivsk. According to Podoshevska, police arrested a 17-year-old youth, a son of the dean of a higher educational institution in the region, who threw an egg at Yanukovych. Later on, Interfax quoted a source from local police as saying that Yanukovych was hit by two "weighty objects" thrown by members of a group called the Union of Young Nationalists. Lawmaker Mykola Tomenko from the opposition Our Ukraine bloc led by Yanukovych's presidential rival Viktor Yushchenko, said Our Ukraine has no relation whatsoever to the incident involving the prime minister in Ivano-Frankivsk. Tomenko was responding to Herman's earlier statement saying that Our Ukraine adherents behaved "aggressively" during Yanukovych's meeting with voters in Ivano-Frankivsk. JM
RUSSIA ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADER. A military court in Moscow, following a request by Russia's Main Military Prosecutor's Office, issued an international arrest warrant on 23 September for Yuliya Tymoshenko, head of the opposition Fatherland Party and the eponymous opposition bloc in Ukraine, Ukrainian and Russian media reported. Russian military prosecutors, who have recently summoned Tymoshenko for an inquiry in Moscow (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 September 2004), suspect her of bribing Russian Defense Ministry officials when she headed Ukraine's Unified Energy Systems in 1995-97. The Fatherland Party said in a statement on 24 September that Moscow's move is "yet another dirty episode in the continued hounding of leaders of the Ukrainian opposition." Tymoshenko works in the election campaign staff of opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko. The Fatherland Party said the real instigators of the arrest warrant for Tymoshenko were President Leonid Kuchma, presidential administration chief Viktor Medvedchuk, and Prime Minister Yanukovych. The party accused them of "betrayal of national interests" in order to "block the participation of Tymoshenko in organizing the opposition victory" in the 31 October presidential elections. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW DEFENSE MINISTER. President Leonid Kuchma on 24 September appointed Oleksandr Kuzmuk as defense minister following the dismissal of Yevhen Marchuk two days before (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 September 2004). Kuzmuk, 50, was Ukraine's defense minister from 1996-2001. Kuzmuk was elected to the Verkhovna Rada in 2002 and has since belonged to the pro-government Labor Ukraine caucus. JM
GUUAM CREATES PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY. Leaders of the parliaments of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova (GUUAM) set up a GUUAM Parliamentary Assembly in Kyiv on 23 September, Ukrainian news agencies reported. Uzbekistan, which temporarily has suspended its membership in GUUAM, was not represented at the Kyiv meeting. The declaration of the GUUAM Parliamentary Assembly states that parliamentarians will work toward strengthening democracy and the rule of law, ensuring the observance of human rights, and developing market economies in their countries. The GUUAM Parliamentary Assembly headquarters will be located in Kyiv, according to UNIAN. JM
NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS MOLDOVA. Speaking at a 23 September press conference in Chisinau, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said NATO is "very interested in solving Moldova's political problems," adding that Moldova is NATO's "neighbor and valuable partner," Flux reported. He said the Transdniester conflict is on his current agenda, and is one of the topics he discusses with the EU, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ukraine, Russia, and the United States. He added that while NATO does not have a direct role in resolving the conflict, it can participate in the process. De Hoop Scheffer reiterated the organization's position that Russia needs to abide by its obligations assumed at the 1999 OSCE Istanbul summit on removing its troops from the region. He also said NATO supports Moldova's European integration aspirations, and there is still room for improving NATO's cooperation with Moldova. During his visit, de Hoop Scheffer met with President Vladimir Voronin and Foreign Minister Andrei Stratan. ZsM